Saturday, August 30

out of the furnace

This movie took place in nearby Braddock, PA. It could have easily taken place in Johnstown from the looks of it. The main character was played by Christian Bale (and he was perfect in this role). The story was one of revenge, so it was right up my alley. Brian liked it, too.

My rating: 4/5

Friday, August 29

experiment

Edit: Sauerkraut. I forgot to mention the sauerkraut.

I took the past four Friday afternoons off in order to do some food preservation. The summer weekends always seem so busy and there's no time during the week for more intensive tasks.

This month, I canned two types of jam and pickled hot cherry peppers; made and froze a couple of loaves of zucchini bread; froze some corn and beans; and made refrigerator pickles.

There are still some things I need to can or freeze, but with September around the corner, I should have more time on my hands.

If I had to do it again I would just take off two full Fridays at the end of the month, which is probably what I'll do next year.

Sunday, August 24

the birthdays and more

This afternoon, we had the annual birthday celebration for my Mom, Dad and Grandma. The festivities took place at my brother's house and we split the food duties between us.

After we got home, I worked on a knitting project that I've been trying to finish (I should be able to wrap things up by tomorrow at the latest). I probably should have gone outside, but the weather is looking good for this week, so there's always another day for that.

Today is the last day of summer for Jake. It's back to school tomorrow. Not just school, but high school. Four years to go! I remember how long that seemed to take when I was in high school, but I have a sneaking suspicion that it's going to go a lot faster for me this time around.

Saturday, August 23

captain phillips

We watched this movie last night. It was quite engrossing. The movie told the real-life story of Richard Phillips, a man whose cargo ship was overtaken by Somali pirates. With the exception of a little setup at the beginning of the story, it was nonstop action until the end.

My rating: 4/5

Sunday, August 17

25th class reunion

Brian's 25th class reunion took place at Pit Stop 271 in Nanty Glo. It was an ok evening for what it was. There was a pretty small turnout--they were expecting less than 50 people and that included spouses (out of a class of around 100). They handed out "save the date" cards for the next one. Not sure if these are necessary every 5 years...

Saturday, August 16

garden update

I feel like I didn't pay enough attention to my garden this year. I'm not sure if it's due to the crappy weather or just because it was a busy summer. But, here are the highlights.

Tomatoes: I've been having a fungal problem with my tomatoes the past few years and that continued this year. I've been researching the problem, but haven't found any solutions that work, unfortunately. My only real recourse is to plant in a different area (if only I had one). This year I just let them go and they're about in the same shape as past years (where I sprayed them and kept up with removing the damaged leaves). This has been very disappointing because I'd really like to can a bunch of tomatoes.

Pole beans: I got a nifty pole bean tower at the end of last season, so I planted some pole beans this year. Those things grew like Jack's beans--the tower wasn't tall enough! I got (and am still getting) a nice harvest from them and that's just from a few plants. The funny thing is that I don't even eat green beans (but the guys love them).

Garlic: I had a nice harvest of garlic this season, but that always performs well for me.

Swiss chard: I planted some of this in my "shady garden" and it has been producing all season.

Cukes: I had a decent harvest of these, but not enough to make canned pickles, though I did make some refrigerator pickles to use up the harvest. I had to tear the plants out last night as they were done for the season.

Some other items performed well; some others average; and some others below expectations, but I guess that's how it usually goes.

Saturday, August 9

enough said

This was a move about a divorcee (played by the always wonderful Julia Louis-Dreyfus) who unknowingly started dating a new friend's ex-husband (played by the late, great James Gandolfini). That's all there is to it, really. I thought it was a good, solid movie.

My rating: 3.5/5

Monday, August 4

gone girl

I heard that this was supposed to be a good book and it was! I also heard they were making a movie out of it (and was pleasantly surprised to hear that David Fincher was directing it), so I added it to my "must read" list for 2014. I love a good twist in a novel and this book was chock full of them. I really liked the format of the book--there were two main characters in the book and the chapters alternated the point of view between the two of them. I wonder if the movie will do the same?

If anything negative could be said about the book, it would be that neither of the main characters were very likable, but it was still a great read.

My rating: 4/5

Sunday, August 3

anchorman 2: the legend continues

We watched this movie over the weekend. I figured a Family Movie Night would be a good way to wrap up our time off. This one wasn't quite as painful for me to watch as the original, but the guys seemed to like it well enough.

My rating: 2/5

Saturday, August 2

the one where they forgot the luggage

We went to River Forest Lodge again for vacation this year. We arrived mid-afternoon and got settled in. Afterwards, I was looking for something that was packed in my luggage and couldn't find our luggage. As it turns out, we didn't bring it. Our two bags were sitting in the hall because, as we were getting ready in the morning, we were still packing things in them. No one brought them out to the living room with the other stuff and they got left behind. It went unnoticed because, there was SO MUCH stuff to pack (particularly since we took an extra person, one of Jake's friends). Luckily, we weren't so far away that we couldn't return home to get it. Brian sacrificed his first evening of vacation to drive back home and get our luggage. He's a keeper. I'm betting we won't leave our luggage behind again in the future.

That said, with the exception of a group of bikers stopping by to check out the campsite (which I found rather annoying), it was all smooth sailing from that point on. Well, it did rain a lot and was on the cool side, but the guys were able to do a lot of fishing and I was able to do a lot of knitting and reading (though not in the preferred spot of my hammock). We had a wonderful time and the week went by so fast. I did not want to return home.

We took Buster and Alice this year. That experiment was received with mixed reviews. Buster was barkier than I hoped--he didn't much like it when people would come and go, though his attitude did improve a bit by the end of the week. Alice did not quite have the revival that she usually does, but the old girl is 14...

Besides hanging around the cabin, we did do a couple of other things. We were in town from Saturday-Friday, so we were able to check out the Tionesta Market Village this year (it's only open on weekends). We also made a trip to the Reiland Farm and Shoppe to check out the animals (and buy yarn!). We stopped in to see one of our clients at the Forest County Visitors Center and took a walk through the fish hatchery while in town. Brian took a 9 mile canoe/fishing trip from Tidioute to our campsite; we also did a short walk on a river trail in Tidioute. Finally, we stopped to check out the Hall Barn while driving around one day.

All in all another excellent and memorable vacation. I'm already planning for next year.

Friday, August 1

child of god

Another great read from Cormac McCarthy. I think he just ended up on my favorite authors list. I read that they made a movie from this book (I saw the trailer--it was excellent!), so I had to read it before the movie came out. It was really more of a short story than a novel (not sure how long it was because I bought it for my Kindle, but it only took a couple of hours to read). If you are so inclined, you can read about the plot here.

My rating: 4/5